Pasta is one of my favourite foods to make. I find the process almost meditational as my brain can handle the minimal ingredients and the usual process of boiling water any given day of the week. This recipe is a simple way to make a great whole meal in the amount of time it takes you to boil the water and cook your pasta. Not to mention it’s a fairly frugal meal to have in the back of your mind … it is post Christmas after all.
I’ve been adding peas to my pasta dishes a lot recently, primarily for my kids. If they aren’t into the usual proteins, peas have a good amount of iron and fibre which gives me good mama vibes. Plus, you can add them to the boiling water avoiding dirtying another pan Weeknights are not made for washing dishes if you ask me.
I’ve suggested adding ham, prosciutto, or bacon to this recipe. This is not mandatory and most protein would work from shredded chicken to sliced pork chops or tenderloin. I use our leftovers. Shown in the photos is diced cooked ham. Changing out the vegetable is also doable; asparagus, spinach, kale, or broccoli are all wonderful substitutions.
This isn’t pasta drenched in tomato sauce. The easiest way to cut sugar and salt from your diet is through removing prepared foods such as pasta sauces and salad dressings. This pasta isn’t dry, but rather uses some acid (white wine or lemon juice) combined with the pasta water to make a luscious silky dish. The cheese is optional. I like it so it goes on top for us. 😉
1 lbs (454 grams) dried pasta
2 cups frozen peas
Small amount of ham, diced prosciutto or pancetta (optional)
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine OR lemon juice
1 tsp thyme leave (fresh or 1/2 tsp dried)
Parmesan to garnish (if desired)
Cook pasta as per package instructions with two minutes less than recommended time. Add frozen peas to pasta pot for the remaining 2 minutes. Save 1/2 cup pasta water before draining pasta/peas.
Meanwhile, add shallot (or onion) to a large frying pan/ skillet and cook for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat until softened and slightly translucent. Add ham (or protein of choice) and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes until ingredients are cooked through and beginning to crisp. Add wine (or lemon juice) and allow to reduce by at least half.
Add pasta and peas to pot with saved pasta water. Toss for a minute until everything is pipping hot.
Place in a serving bowl and garnish with cheese if desired.